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Winston ChurChill, Prime minister’s Personal minute, 28 July 1952

In this remarkable book David Clarke reveals an array of startling stories from possible UFO reports hidden among Met Office investigations of aerial phenomena in the 1920s to the conclusions of Project Condign, the hush-hush British Intelligence UFO study completed in 2000. As well as covering Roswell and Britain’s own Rendlesham Forest mystery, Clarke raids the records for dramatic stories of abductions and close encounters, ghost aircraft and crop circles, and UFO reports by civilian aircrew and military personnel. Dramatic witness statements and interviews – many undertaken by the author himself – combine with rarely seen photographs, drawings and newly available documents to offer a unique guide to one of our most intriguing mysteries. David Clarke is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. He has a long-standing interest in UFOs and other aerial phenomena, and has worked with the National Archives in promoting UFO material recently released by the Ministry of Defence. He is an experienced journalist, contributing to the Yorkshire Post and other newspapers and magazines including BBC History, as well as acting as researcher and consultant to a range of radio and television productions. He is the author of The Angel of Mons (2004).

£12.99

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

David Clarke

The UFO Files tells the story of over 100 years of UFO sightings, drawing on formerly secret government records at the National Archives. Alongside extraordinary reports by ordinary people it reveals details of official interest and investigations stretching back to before the First World War – for although the terms UFO and Flying Saucer were not coined until the middle of the twentieth century, people have long seen things in the sky that they could not explain.

THE UFO FILES

‘ What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?’

THE

UFO FILES

The Inside Story of Real-Life Sightings

David Clarke


THE UFO FILES

THE INSIDE STORY OF REAL-LIFE SIGHTINGS

DAVID CLARKE


DEDICATION

An edited extract from The UFO Files First published in 2009 by The National Archives Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU United Kingdom

Jacket design by Goldust Design Book design and typesetting by Ken Wilson|point918

www.national archives.gov.uk

Printed in Malta by Gutenberg Press

The National Archives brings together the Public Records Office, Historic Manuscripts Commission, Office of Public Sector Information, and Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Cover Illustration UFO Over a Lake, Getty images

© Text copyright David Clarke The right of David Clarke to be identified as the Author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of both the copyright holder and the above publisher. A catalogue card for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978 1 905615 50 6

Photographic Credits Fig. 14 is reproduced by kind permission of Stan Hubbard. Figs. 15, 17, and 18 are taken from the files at The National Archives and are © Crown Copyright. See the relevant picture captions for document references.The headline in fig.16 featured in the Yorkshire Evening Press ( 20 September, 1952 ).


BOOK CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

7

ONE

STRANGE LIGHTS IN THE SKIES

TWO

THE FLYING SAUCER AGE

THREE

COLD WAR UFOs

FOUR

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

FIVE

CROP CIRCLES AND ALIEN ABDUCTIONS

SIX

TURN OF THE CENTURY UFOs AFTERWORD

INDEX

32

56 79

148

NOTES ON THE TEXT RESOURCES

11

152

154

156

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

160

125

102


6

STRANGE LIGHTS IN THE SKIES

CHAPTER TWO ‘There may be flying saucers and there may not be. But this was something I have never seen before.’ Sunday Dispatch, 21 September 1952

THE FLYING SAUCER AGE AN EXTRACT

T

his is an edited extract from Chapter 2 of The UFO Files by David Clarke, published September 2009 by The National Archives. This book is largely based upon the

real-life accounts of UFO experiences recorded in files collected

by Britain’s Ministry of Defence ( MoD ), many of which are today held by The National Archives, based in Kew, Richmond. Where applicable, National Archives document references are given in the text; original documents can be searched on the Catalogue at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue and viewed online at DocumentsOnline ( www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline ).


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Flying saucers over Farnborough In 1950 Stan Hubbard was an experienced test pilot based at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, site of one of the aeronautical industry’s most important annual events, the September air show. On the morning of 15 August, a dry, clear summer’s day, Flight Lieutenant Hubbard was walking along the airfield runway towards his quarters. He later recalled his attention was attracted by what he described as ‘a strange distant humming sound’. I had the chance to interview him in 2002 and he remembered then how, turning to investigate, he saw in the direction of Basingstoke an object that looked ‘for all the world like the edge-on view of a discus, the sort of discus we used to throw at sports day in school … and it was rocking from side to side very slightly … but maintaining a very straight approach. That was something that has stuck in my mind very clearly, vividly, to this day.’17 As it approached the airfield the sound emanating from the object increased in intensity to become ‘a heavy, dominant humming with an associated subdued crackling-hissing … which reminded me strongly of the noise inside a large active electrical power station.’ He continued: ‘It was light grey in colour, a bit like mother of pearl, but blurred. It was obviously reflecting light because as it rocked it looked like a pan lid as you rotate it, with segments of light rotating around. And I could see that around the edge as it went overhead, it was a different colour, it had a

FIg. 14 RAF test pilot Stan Hubbard, whose 1950 sighting triggered a secret investigation by the MoD.


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definite edge to it. And the whole of the edge was a mass of tiny crackling, sparkling lights. And associated with that, there was a real impact of a very strong ozone smell. ‘There were no windows or portholes or any other characteristics at all. It was featureless, and the remarkable thing about it was there was no sound of air movement … as the object was coming closer and then went overhead I tried to estimate its size, altitude and speed, but with the absence of any readily identifiable feature it was difficult to gauge these factors with any confidence… I guessed that its height above ground when first seen was probably between 700 and 1000 [ ft ] and since it certainly seemed to maintain altitude throughout the period of my observation, I guessed that it would have to be about 100 ft in diameter. It must have been travelling very fast, perhaps as high as 500 to 900 mph.’ Hubbard immediately reported this sighting to his commanding officer and soon afterwards received a visit from members of the Ministry of Defence’s Flying Saucer Working Party, which had been established that same month to look into the UFO mystery. Chaired by G.L. Turney, head of scientific intelligence at the Admiralty, it included five intelligence officers, two of whom were scientists, the other three representing the intelligence branches of the army, navy and RAF. Hubbard recalled the questions included: ‘“How high was it?” “How big was it?” “How fast was it?” “What was it?” … and one question which I think reflects the tenor of the interview was: “What do you suppose the object was, and where would it have come from?” I replied simply that in my opinion it was not something that had been designed and built on this Earth. Clearly, from the effect it had on the team, it was the wrong answer.’ The working party’s visit to Farnborough would not be the last. On the afternoon of 5 September 1950, just two weeks after Hubbard’s first observation, he saw what he believes was the same object again. On this occasion he was standing with five other serving RAF airmen on the watch-tower waiting for a display by the Hawker P.1081 when he spotted the object in the sky to the south of the airfield, towards Guildford. ‘I grabbed hold of the chap next to me,’ he recalled, ‘and said: “Hey, what do you think that is?” Pointing … and he shouted “My God! Go get a camera quick! Go get some binoculars!”’ Hubbard and his colleagues then watched an incredible performance of aerobatics by what the official report describes as ‘a flat disc, light pearl in colour [ and ] about the size of a shirt button.’ Hubbard described it as ‘fluttering, as though bordering on instability, in a hovering mode, the object would swoop off in a slight dive at incredibly high speed and in quite stable flight, then stop abruptly and go into another fluttering hover


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mode. This performance was repeated many times … and it appeared that all this was taking place some eight to ten miles south of us over the Farnham area.’ The UFO was under observation for some 10 minutes during which the little crowd had swelled to more than a dozen RAF personnel. ‘They were awestruck,’ Hubbard recalls, ‘but not one of them had a camera! I remember one of them saying “Sorry Stan, I didn’t believe those first stories.” It made my day.’ Within 24 hours they were all questioned by the Flying Saucer Working Party. ‘We were not given their names and we were strictly warned not to ask questions of them, nor make enquiries elsewhere in the Ministry’, Hubbard said. ‘We were also warned not to discuss the subject later, even amongst ourselves in private.’ The UFO was under observation Despite his misgivings Hubbard believed the assurfor some 10 minutes ance given by the Air Ministry member of the team that during which the little crowd he ‘had never had a more reliable and authentic sighting than ours.’ He was unaware of the outcome of this had swelled to more than investigation until he got to see a copy of the working a dozen RAF personnel. party’s final report after its release in 2001. In its sum‘They were awestruck,’ mary of Hubbard’s initial sighting the report said there was no doubt the experienced test pilot had honestly Hubbard recalls described what he had seen, ‘but we find it impossible to believe that a most unconventional aircraft, of exceptional speed, could have travelled at no great altitude, in the middle of a fine summer morning, over a populous and air-minded district like Farnborough, without attracting the attention of more than one observer.’ ( DEFE 44 /119 ) Accordingly, they concluded he was ‘the victim of an optical illusion, or that he observed some quite normal type of aircraft and deceived himself about its shape and speed.’The report then turned its attention to the second incident, which they described as ‘an interesting example of one report influencing another.’ Although Hubbard believed the objects he saw on both occasions were identical, the authors felt this opinion was of little value. While they had no doubt a flying object of some sort had been seen, ‘we again find it impossible to believe that an unconventional aircraft, manoeuvring for some time over a populous area, could have failed to attract the attention of other observers. We conclude that the officers in fact saw some quite normal aircraft, manoeuvring at extreme visual range, and were led by the previous report to believe it to be something abnormal.’ ( DEFE 44 /119 ) The working party were satisfied this solution was correct because of another example of misperception reported to them by the Air Ministry member of their team, Wing Commander Myles Formby. Whilst on a rifle


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range near Portsmouth he spotted what he at first thought was a ‘flying saucer’ in the distance. ‘Visibility was good, there being a cloudless sky and bright sunshine. The object was located and held by a telescope and gave the appearance of being a circular shining disc moving on a regular flight path. It was only after observation had been kept for several minutes, and the altitude of the object changed so that it did not reflect the sunlight to the observer’s eye, that it was identified as being a perfectly normal aircraft.’ ( DEFE 44 /119 ) Sceptics and believers During the summer of 1952 there was a new wave of sightings across the world. In America more than 500 sightings were reported to the United States Air Force in July alone, leading future CIA director Major General Charles P. Cabell to launch a new UFO project, Blue Book, under the control of the Air Technical Intelligence Center with Captain Ruppelt as its director. For the Americans, the most alarming of these sightings occurred in the US capital,Washington DC. On 19 and 20 July 1952, strange moving blips appeared on radars at Washington’s National Airport and at Andrews Air Force Base.The phenomena reappeared the following weekend, sometimes moving slowly, then reversing and moving off at incredible speed. Aircraft were scrambled, but the crews saw nothing, despite being vectored towards targets that were visible on ground radar. At the same time, civilian aircrew and ground controllers reported seeing strange lights whilst the phenomena were visible on radar.These events alarmed the Truman administration and led the New York Times to demand why ‘a jet fighter of Air Defence Command, capable of a speed of 600 miles an hour, failed to catch one of the “objects”’.18 A huge press conference was called at the Pentagon as officials moved to calm public fears. High-ranking figures, including the director of United States Air Force intelligence, Major General John Samford, reassured the assembled media the radar blips were probably the result of temperature inversions created by the hot summer weather.These types of unusual conditions, he said, could produce false echoes on radar screens. Samford’s public reassurances followed those given to authority figures in private: President Harry Truman himself had been sufficiently concerned to phone Captain Ruppelt asking for an explanation. And Truman was not the only national leader who read the newspaper headlines. On 28 July, the day before the Washington press conference, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had sent a memo to his Secretary of State for Air and copied it to Lord Cherwell, one of his most trusted scientific advisors. This demanded:


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‘What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth? Let me have a report at your convenience.’ ( PREM 11 / 855 ) The Prime Minister received a reassuring response from the Air Ministry on 9 August 1952. Preserved alongside Churchill’s memo at the National Archives, it said UFOs were the subject of ‘a full intelligence study in 1951’ that had concluded all incidents reported could be explained by natural phenomena, misperceptions of aircraft, balloons and birds, optical illusions, psychological delusions and deliberate hoaxes. Churchill was told that an earlier investigation, carried out by Project Grudge in 1948–9 had reached a similar conclusion and that ‘nothing has happened since 1951 to make the Air Staff change their opinion, and, to judge from recent Press statements, the same is true in America.’ The government’s Chief Scientist, Lord Cherwell (Frederick Lindemann) said he ‘agreed entirely’ with the Air Ministry and, in a minute circulated to Cabinet members, dismissed the American saucer scare as ‘a product of mass psychology’. But not everyone was so convinced. A 2009 release by the Churchill Archives included a letter from Duncan Sandys, then Minister of Supply, to Cherwell that stated: ‘There may, as you say, be no real evidence of the existence of flying saucer aircraft, but there is in my view ample evidence of some unfamiliar and unexplained phenomenon.’19 The division in the establishment between those who ‘believed’ that reports of flying saucers should be taken seriously, such as Duncan Sandys and Lord Mountbatten, and those who dismissed the whole subject as

FIg.15 Following a ‘flap’ of UFO sightings over Washington DC, British Prime MinisterWinston Churchill asked the Secretary of State for Air: ‘What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to?’ PREM 11/855


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‘mass hysteria’ was growing. The sceptics tended to be scientists, who applied cold logic to the UFO question and demanded solid evidence, and their opinion was ultimately the most influential. The Topcliffe incident With the debate ongoing, events were to take another unexpected turn when a fresh series of sightings occurred during a major NATO exercise in Europe, Operation Mainbrace.The most dramatic was reported by a group of Shackleton aircrew who saw a circular silver object above the airfield at RAF Topcliffe, NorthYorkshire, on the afternoon of 19 September 1952. A report made to Topcliffe’s commanding officer by one of the men, Flight Lieutenant John Kilburn of 269 Squadron, can be found among the Fighter Command papers preserved at the National Archives. In this Kilburn said he was standing on the airfield with four other Shackleton aircrew watching a Meteor fighter descending: ‘The Meteor was at approximately 5,000 feet and approaching from the east. Flt Lt Paris suddenly noticed a white object in the sky at a height between ten and twenty thousand feet some five miles astern of the Meteor. The object was silver in colour and circular in shape, it appeared to be travelling at a much slower speed than the Meteor but was on a similar course. It maintained the slow forward speed for a few seconds before commencing to descend, swinging in a pendular motion during descent similar to a falling sycamore leaf. This was at first thought to be a parachute or engine cowling. The Meteor, meanwhile, turned towards Dishforth and the object, while continuing its descent, appeared to follow suit. After a further few seconds, the object stopped its pendulous motion and its descent, and began to rotate on its own axis. Suddenly it accelerated at an incredible speed towards the west turning onto a south easterly heading before disappearing. All this occurred in a matter of fifteen to twenty seconds. The acceleration was in excess of that of a shooting star. I have never seen such a phenomenon before. The movements of the object were not identifiable with anything I have seen in the air and the rate of acceleration was unbelievable.’ (aIR 16/1199) As in America, the year 1952 was to be a busy one for UFOs and the Topcliffe incident was just the first in a series of reports made by military personnel that reached the Air Ministry.There were also a growing number of incidents involving the tracking of fast-moving unidentified objects on RAF radars. For example, on 21 October 1952 a flying instructor and his Royal Navy student were in a Meteor jet on exercise from the RAF’s central flying school at Little Rissington, Gloucestershire, when they saw three saucer-shaped UFOs. Flight Lieutenant Michael Swiney, who later served


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in air intelligence and retired at the rank of Air Commodore, vividly remembers this encounter. The circular, plate-like objects were also clearly observed by his student, Lieutenant David Crofts. They became visible when the Meteor punched through a layer of cloud at around 12,000 ft. Initially Swiney thought they were three parachutes descending towards them. Crofts described them as elliptical in shape and iridescent, like circular pieces of glass reflecting the sun. Shaken, Swiney abandoned the training flight and reported the sighting to ground control. The objects, stationary at first, appeared to change pos-

FIg.16 A sighting of a ‘flying saucer’ by RAF Shackleton aircrew inYorkshire during a NATO exercise made news headlines in September 1952. FIg.17 Details of the Topcliffe incident were circulated to Air Ministry intelligence in this message dated 20 September 1952. aIR 20 /7390


50

FIg.18 An extract from the Operations Record Book of RAF Little Rissington that includes a sighting of ‘three mysterious saucershaped objects’ by the crew of a RAF Meteor jet on 21 October 1952. aIR 29/2310

T H E F LY I N G S A U C E R A G E

ition and then vanished. Subsequently he learned that aircraft were scrambled by Fighter Command to intercept these UFOs. When I interviewed Michael Swiney in 2004 he recalled his reaction: ‘I was frightened, I make no bones about it. It was something supernatural, perhaps, and when I landed someone told me I looked as if I had seen a ghost. I immediately thought of saucers, because that was actually what they looked like… I even put an entry in my logbook, which reads: “saucers! … 3 ‘flying saucers’ sighted at height, confirmed by GCI [radar].”’20 On landing at Little Rissington the two men were ordered to remain in their quarters until the following day, when an Air Ministry team arrived to interview them.The team took statements and asked the men to draw what they had seen. Swiney’s student, David Crofts, recalled he was told ‘they [Air Intelligence] had been in communication with every country in the world that was likely to have that sort of aircraft in the vicinity and drew a blank.’ When I interviewed him in 2004 he remembered: ‘They also said they [the UFOs] had been picked up on radar; fighters had been scrambled and the target had a ground speed of 600 knots, heading east but the fighters saw nothing, didn’t make a contact and returned to base.’21 Despite this clear testimony it appears the men’s statements describing


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this dramatic incident were subsequently destroyed. On his retirement, Air Commodore Swiney made inquiries with the MoD hoping to locate a copy of his original report on the incident. He was amazed to learn that most records of UFOs before 1962 had been routinely shredded. Today all that remains in the files at the National Archives is a single surviving reference in the flying school’s operations record book which simply records how the two men ‘sighted three mysterious “saucer-shaped objects” travelling at high speed at about 35,000 feet whilst on a high level navigation exercise.’ The document adds that air traffic control later reported radar plots that appeared to confirm their report ‘but Air Ministry discounted any possibility of “extra terrestrial objects.”’22 Writing in 1988 Ralph Noyes, who was private secretary to the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane, at the time recalled their ‘own embarrassed unease, widely shared by the [RAF] operations staff, that “our own people” had begun to fall for “that saucer nonsense”.’ Indeed, as a direct result of these incidents a decision was taken in 1953 that the Air Ministry should investigate UFO reports on a permanent basis and responsibility was delegated by the Chief of the Air Staff to a section of the air technical intelligence branch, DDI (Tech). The memoirs of Captain Edward Ruppelt refer to an exchange visit to Project Blue Book’s base at Wright-Patterson airfield, Ohio, by two RAF officers shortly afterwards. In his Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, published in 1956, Ruppelt revealed the officers were in the USA ‘on a classified mission’ during which one admitted the sightings during Operation Mainbrace had ‘caused the RAF to officially recognise the UFO.’ From angels to aliens One of the features of the UFO phenomenon that most concerned the Air Ministry was visual sightings that appeared to be corroborated by radar operators, as featured in the report by Michael Swiney and David Crofts. Unexplained phenomena had been tracked on RAF radars early in the Second World War (see p.25 of The UFO ) and again during the ‘ghost plane’ flap of 1947 (see p.33 of The UFO Files), but until 1952 none of these had involved visual sightings. In his history of UK air defence radar systems, Watching the Skies, Jack Gough says that ‘angel’ and ‘ghost’ echoes continued to plague RAF radars during the early 1950s. They sometimes appeared from the ground ‘as a cloud of responses very similar to the echoes obtained by small aircraft’. When tracked as individual echoes they could easily be mistaken for military aircraft as they followed a steady course and were plotted at heights from 2,000 ft to 10,000 ft.23 The Air Ministry turned to their scientists to provide a solution to this


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problem. Initially there were two competing theories to explain ‘angels’. The first was they were caused by unusual conditions in the atmosphere that created pockets of air that bent and reflected radar beams to produce false targets on radars. This appeared likely, but could not explain how some ‘angels’ moved against the prevailing winds or faster than measured wind speeds. The second more improbable-seeming theory was that angels were really formations of birds flying to and from their breeding grounds as part of their annual migrations. At the Staff at coastal radar stations time the few ornithologists who were using radar to had linked ‘angels’ on their study bird movements had problems persuading the RAF to take this theory seriously. However, during screens with flights of seabirds the war staff at coastal radar stations had linked spotted with the naked eye. ‘angels’ on their screens with flights of seabirds spotOn rare occasions large ted with the naked eye. On rare occasions large individual birds had been known to cause chaos. Barry individual birds had been known Huddart, who served with Fighter Command HQ in to cause chaos 1957, recalled one incident ‘when fighters were scrambled to intercept an echo on a radar screen which turned out to be a Golden Eagle at 25,000 ft in a jet stream, very unusual but nonetheless true.’24 By 1957 Fighter Command HQ was so concerned by the ‘angel’ problem that it ordered a secret investigation by its Research Branch. The twoyear study was to combine the skills of its radar technicians with the expertise of British ornithologists. Selected RAF radar stations around the east coast were asked to send film from their radar cameras for analysis. Meanwhile, morbid experiments were carried out to measure the echoing area of various types of birds. Dead animals were obtained from bird sanctuaries and their bodies were wrapped in cellophane and then whirled around whilst radar was bounced off them to measure their ‘echoing area’. The investigation was concentrated around one key radar station where ‘angels’ had been frequently reported. RAF Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast was one of the first to be equipped with a new powerful radar, the Type 80. Ornithologist David Lack used this to track ‘angel’ echoes for a year. His study revealed the heaviest ‘angel’ activity occurred during the spring and autumn months, usually at night in calm weather when birds were migrating over the sea. Lack and his colleagues were able to demonstrate that what the radar operators were actually seeing were flocks of small birds migrating to and from East Anglia and Continental Europe. These observations led the RAF inquiry to conclude in 1958 that most ‘angel’ echoes on radar were caused by birds after all.25 Nevertheless, a big problem remained. How could ‘angels’ be eliminated


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from radar without playing havoc with the tracking and control of military aircraft? The answer was a gadget that simply tuned out the ‘noise’ created by the presence of smaller birds and other clutter from radar screens whilst at the same time increasing the strength and visibility of echoes created by aircraft. This system was simplified further when all ‘friendly’ aircraft were fitted with transponders that transmit a coded identification signal to ground stations. Advances in radar technology may help explain why the majority of accounts describing UFOs on radar were made during the 1940s and 1950s, before technological innovations removed the noise that plagued older systems. The older post-war radars appear to have been more effective detectors of a range of natural and unusual phenomena including ‘angels’. Once computers were used to remove anything that did not behave like an aircraft from screens, reports of UFOs on radar became fewer. This was brought home to me during a visit to a busy RAF radar control centre in 2005. When I asked one of the operators if they ever detected radar UFOs she replied, with a smile: ‘Sometimes, but when we spot one we just send for the technicians who come along and tune them out.’

NOTES ON THE TEXT 17 Extract from interview with S. Hubbard, 18 April 2002; 18 New York Times, quoted in TheTimes, 30 July 1952; 19 Churchill Archives, University of Cambridge, Lord Duncan Sandys papers, DSND 15/4; 20 Extract from interview with Michael Swiney, 13 March 2002;

NOTES ON THE TEXT 21 Extract from interview with David Crofts, 26 February 2002; 22 AIR 29 /2310; 23 J. Gough, Watching the Skies (HMSO 1993); 24 RAF Radar Museum newsletter no. 35–36, April–July 2003; 25 AIR16 /1485.


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INDEX

BOOK INDEX

Numbers in italic refer to plate numbers. A Ackhurst, Leslie 75, 77 Adair, Lieutenant W. 15 Adamski, George 116; Flying Saucers Have Landed 116; Inside the Spaceships 116 Air Historical Branch files 14, 15 Air Ministry 32; abolition of 70; attempt to control spread of information about UFOs 58; destroying of UFO records 68; drawing up of UFO report form 60; foo-fighter enquiries 24, 25; investigations into UFO reports 49–50, 51; offloading of public correspondence on UFOs to UFO desk 69; yearly reports on UFOs 60–1, 66 Air Ministry Secret Intelligence Summary (AMSIS) 60 Air Miss Working Group 131, 132, 142 air misses 128, 129–32, 142 Air Technical Intelligence Center 46 air traffic control centres 128

aircraft: design based on flying saucers 61; link between UFO sightings and experimental military 132–4, 136–7 aircrew, civilian: UFO reports made by 127–8, 130, 132, 134, 141–2 airships 12–13 see also ‘phantom airship’ sightings Airways 131 alien abductions 117–24; explanations for 144–5; and the Hills 117–18; public fascination with 121 aliens: depiction of 115–16; encounters with 116–17, 119–24, 120, 123; popular image of 121 Alitalia Flight AZ (284) 129–30, 129 Allied Air Intelligence 25 Alvarez, Dr Luis 57 American National Academy of Sciences 81 Andrews, Colin 111 Anthony, Gary 135 Ape, SS 15 Apollo programme 80 ‘Area 51’ 127 Armstrong, Neil 151 Arnold, Kenneth 34–6, 35 Ash, Fenton: Trip to Mars 115 atmospheric plasmas 143–4 Aurora project 136–7 ‘Avro-cars’ 61 B B-2 Stealth bomber 127, 136 Bagnall, Sir Anthony 135 Baker, Annie 20–1 ball lightning 19–22, 29, 80, 82–3, 143, 144 balloons: Mogul project 38, 62; and air miss incidents 131; and Skyhook programme 39–40, 61– 2; UFO sightings put down to 15, 34, 37, 38, 46, 58, 61–2, 64, 74, 78, 82; UFO Solar 131 BBC 80 Becke, Major 14–15 Bedell Smith,Walter 57 Bentine, Michael 25, 28 Bentwaters, RAF 64, 103, 108 Berkner, Dr Lloyd 57

Berlitz, Charles 91 Berlitz, Charles and Moore, William: The Roswell Incident 37–8 Bermuda Triangle 91 Birch, Alex 70, 71 Birch, Nigel 58, 62 birds: and radar incidents 51–2 ‘black projects’ 133–4, 136 Blanchard, Roy 110 Blériot, Louis 13 Blount, Bertie 42 Blue Book project see Project Blue Book Boulmer, RAF 88–9 Bower, Doug 80, 114–15 Bowyer, Ray 146–7 Boyd, Lee 127 Brady, Squadron Leader John 65 Brawdy, RAF 91, 92 Brewyn Mountains incident (1974) 86–8 Broad Haven Primary School 90, 93 Brooks, Angus 75–7, 76, 118 Burroughs, John 107 C Cabell, Major General Charles P. 46 Carruthers, Jim 74 Carter, Chris 138 Carter, Jimmy 75 Cassie, Alex 75, 76–7 Cave-Penny, Mrs 18 Chadwell, Dr Harris Marshall 42, 57 Chain Home radar stations 26, 33 Chapman, Robert 77 Charlton crater 110, 111 Cherwell, Lord (Frederick Lindemann) 46, 47 Chinese lanterns 15 Chorley, Dave 114–15 Churchill,Winston 13, 13, 14, 46, 47 CIA 40, 42; convening of panel to investigate UFO sightings (1953) 57–8 Civil Aviation Authority 128, 131 Clancarty, Lord 96–8, 100 Claridge, Ronald 30–1 Clarke, Arthur C. 116


INDEX

close encounters: explanations for 144–5; reports on 116–17, 118; term of 118; see also alien abductions Close Encounters of the Third Kind 94–5, 118 Cochrane, Sir Ralph 51 Code of Practice for Access to Government Information 106 Coe, Phillis 20 Cold War 39, 54, 116, 133 Cold War UFOs 56–78 Colin, Group Captain Neil 98 Condign Report (2000) 140–5 Condon Report (1969) 80–1 Contact International 96 Contact UK 55 corn circles see crop circles Cosford, RAF 120, 135 Cosmos 749 (Soviet spy satellite) 102 Cosmos 1068 95 Cosmos 2238 135 Coumbe, Squadron Leader Derek 108 Cowan, Squadron Leader J.A. 92 Cox, Eric 73 Crofts, Lieutenant David 48, 50, 51 crop circles 90, 110–15, 112, 121 D Daily Express 58, 94, 112 Dartmoor: reports of mysterious lights over 17–19 Davies, Lord 100 Davis, Colin 94, 95 Davis, Squadron Leader Tony 65 Day the Earth Stood Still, The 116 DDI (Tech) 51, 60 Defence Intelligence Staff 70, 75, 81, 93, 106, 113, 134, 138, 140, 145 see also DI55 Delgado, Pat 111 Devil’s Punchbowl,The 111 Devonport 17–18 DI55 70, 74, 77, 84, 88, 90, 97, 113, 139 Dickinson, Rod 115 Dickison, Dr John 74, 75 Directorate of Counter Terrorism and UK Operations 146

Directorate of Scientific Intelligence / Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI / JTIC) 41 Drury, Lieutenant-Colonel W.P. 18 DSI / JTIC Report No 7 Unidentified Flying Objects 42, 43, 45 E Eade, Charles 41 earthquake lights 144 Eastchurch 13–14 Edgecombe, Colonel G.J.B. 113 Eisenhower, General Dwight D. 27 Elliott, Lieutenant Montague 17 Essen raid (1944) 22 E.T. 112 Evans, Hilary 36 experimental military aircraft: links with UFOs 132–4 Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) 138 F F-117 136, 137 Farnborough: flying saucers over (1950) 43–5, 148 Fennesy, Sir Edward 26, 27 Fighter Command 26, 33, 48, 52, 60 fireball meteors 86, 102, 107, 132 First World War 14, 25; ‘phantom airship’ sightings 11–17, 12, 17, 25, 135; reports of mysterious lights over Dartmoor 17–19 ‘flying cross’ incidents (1967) 73–6 Flying Saucer Review (magazine) 96, 111 Flying Saucer Working Party 40–2, 43, 44, 45, 61, 145; report (1951) 42, 61 flying saucers: aircraft designs based on 61; and Arnold 34–6, 35; books on 41; first opinion poll on 36; first sightings of over North America 33–4; origin of term 35; see also UFOs Flying Saucers and the PeopleWho See Them (tv documentary) 80, 118 foo-fighters 22–5, 24, 27–9, 57, 96, 144

157

Formby,Wing Commander Myles 45 Freedom of Information Act (2006) 108, 138, 142, 145 Frost, John 61 Frow, Air Commodore Brian 30 Fuller, John 122; The Interrupted Journey 118 Fylingdales, RAF 95, 102 G Gabriel, General Charles 105 Gainford, Lord 99, 100 Gairy, Sir Eric 97 Galley, Robert 100 General Accounting Office (GAO) 38 ‘ghost plane’ flap (1947) 33–4, 51 ghost rocket scares (1946) 32–3, 36 Gibson, Chris 137 Gildenberg, Duke 62 Godber, Joseph 110 Goldsmit, Dr Samuel 57 Goodwin, Dominic 133, 136 Gorizont 21 satellite 134–5 Gough, Jack: Watching the Skies 51 Greene, Francis 78 Greenham Common, RAF 106 Grigg Committee (1957) 9 H Halsbury, Earl of 100 Halt, Lieutenant Colonel Charles 103–6, 104, 107, 108, 109 Hamley,Wing Commander D.B. 128 Hangar 18 (film) 102 Harrison, Fred 11–12 Hartop, Owen 114 Hastings, David 125–6, 126, 127, 132, 142 Haut, Lieutenant Walter 37 Hendry, Arthur 79–80 Hewlett, Lord 100 Hill, Betty and Barney 117–18 Hill-Norton, Admiral Lord Peter 106, 109 Hopkins, Budd: Missing Time 121, 122 Hopkins, Group Captain E.D.M. 27 Horton, Flight Lieutenant Arthur 22–3


158

INDEX

House of Lords: UFO debate 96–101, 98, 99, 148, 149 Howard, Captain James 127, 128 Hubbard, Stan 43–5, 43 Huddart, Barry 52 Hynek, Dr J. Allen 73, 94, 118 I Invaders from Mars 116 Invasion of the Body Snatchers 116 J Jane’s DefenceWeekly 136, 137 Jeffreys, Harold 21–2 Johnson, Dr Nick 135 Joint Air miss Working Group 128, 131, 134, 142 Jones, Professor Reginald Victor 24, 25, 25, 28, 29, 32, 33, 74, 148 Journal of Meteorology 111 K Kelly, Paul 146 Keyhoe, Donald: The Flying Saucers are Real 41 Kilburn, Flight Lieutenant John 48 Kimberley, Lord 101 King,Tom 136 L Lack, David 52 Lakenheath-Bentwaters incident (1956) 64–6, 69, 148 Leslie, Desmond 116 Lever, Captain 29, 30 lightning 143 see also ball lightning Little Rissington, RAF: UFO sighting (1952) 48–50, 50 London: ‘phantom airship’ sightings over (1916) 16–17 Lott, Alan 84–5, 85 Lovell, Sir Bernard 100 Lundberg, John 115 M McClelland, Flight Sub-Lieutenant H. 17 McDonald, Air Vice Marshal Bill 54 Machrihanish, RAF 136 Manston, RAF 67 Mantell, Captain Thomas 39, 62, 91

Marcel, Major Jesse 37–8 marks on the ground 109–10 marsh gas 19 Meaden, Dr Terence 111–12 ‘Men in Black’ 70–1 Mercer, Flight Lieutenant M.J. 72, 77 Meteorological Magazine,The 21 Meteorological Office 19–20, 21, 22, 29, 58, 80, 88 Middle Wallop, RAF 113 Mildenhall, RAF 136 military secrets: links with UFOs 36, 40, 132–4 Mills, Dr Alan 19 missing time 117–18, 144 MoD (Ministry of Defence) 149; and alien abductions 118–19, 124; believing of UFOs by some officials within 138; commissioning of UFO study (Condign Report) 140–5; creation of unified (1964 ) 70; and crop circles 112–13, 115; dealing with and investigating of UFO reports 8, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 81, 84, 119, 150; discontinuing of annual statistical analysis of UFO reports 81; downplaying of potential risks posed by UFOs in near-miss incidents 128, 129, 130–1; explanations for UFOs 83, 93; internal debate on UFOs 138–9; policy towards UFOs 80; public stance that UFOs were of ‘no defence significance’ 106, 139; releasing of files to National Archives 89; and Rendlesham incident 106, 107, 108–9; standard letter in reply to UFO reported sightings 81, 82, 84; statistical analysis of UFO reports 80 Mogul project 38, 62 moon landings 80 Moore, Patrick 151 Moreland, Squadron Leader Donald 104, 105 Morgan, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Eric 16 Morris, Captain Joseph: The German Air Raids on Great Britain 16

Mountbatten, Lord 41, 47 ‘Mowing Devil,The’ 110–11 Mulley, Fred 100 N NASA 80 National Archives UFO page 8 natural phenomena: as explanation for UFO sightings 46, 51, 53, 80, 97, 100, 101, 132, 143-4, 145; see also ball lightning near-misses: between UFOs and aircraft 128, 129–32, 129, 130 Neatishead, RAF 64 NewYork Times 46 New Zealand: UFO sightings 96, 97 News of theWorld 70 Newton, Irving 38 Newton Stewart 54 9 /11 145 North Sea: UFO sightings over 88–9 Norwich, Bishop of 100 Noyes, Ralph 51, 54–5, 66, 69, 106, 138 O Odiham, RAF 113, 113 Oldfield, Joan and Tom 77–8 Operation Charlie incidents 40 Operation Mainbrace 47, 51 Orford Ness lighthouse 107 P Paget, Peter: TheWelsh Triangle 91 Patterson, Patrick 147 Peck, Robin 79 Peduzie, J.A. 92–3 Penniston, Sergeant Jim 107–8 Perks, Colin 71–3, 72 Perry, Andrew 119 Persinger, Dr Michael 144 Petrozavodsk (Soviet Union) 64 ‘phantom airship’ sightings 11–17, 12, 17, 25, 135; (1909) 11–12, 15; above London (1916) 16–17; first year of First World War (1914) 14–15; Sheerness incident (1912) 13–14;Vickers shipyard sighting 14–15


INDEX

pilots, military: large object sightings over Alps 29–30; sighting of foo-fighters 23–5, 27–8; UFO sightings by 43–4, 56–7, 58, 62, 64–7, 89–90, 89, 125, 127–8 pilots, civilian: and near miss incidents 129–32; and UFO sightings 125, 127–8 plasmas, atmospheric 143–4 Pope, Nick 121–2, 135, 138; Open Skies, Closed Minds 138 Project Blue Book 46, 51, 57, 60, 61, 63, 66, 74, 81, 127 Project Condign see Condign Report Project Grudge 40, 42, 46 Project Sign 39–40 ProjectY 61, 61 Provost & Security Service (P&SS) 92 Pugh, Randall Jones 90–1 Punchbowl (Cheesefoot Head) 114 Q Quartermass Experiment,The 116 R radar angels 25–6, 27, 51–2 radar incidents 25–6, 27, 33–4, 46, 51–4, 58, 59, 64–6, 68–9, 145 Ramey, Brigadier Roger 37 Randles, Jenny 132 Rees, Lord Martin 150 Rees, Merlyn 74 Rendlesham Forest incident (1980) 103–9, 104, 138 Rennie, Michael 116 Rice, Donald 136 Ridpath, Ian 107, 108, 132 Roberts, Andy 24 Robertson, Dr Bob 27–8, 29, 57, 60 Robinson, Douglas 15 rockets, ghost 32–3, 36 Roswell Files report (1994 /5) 38–9 Roswell incident (1947) 36–9, 37, 38, 62, 87, 102 Rothnie, A.K. 83–4 Royal New Zealand Air Force 97 Ruppelt, Captain Edward 40, 46, 51 Russell, Kate 146–7

S St Mawgan, RAF 83 Salandin, Flight Lieutenant James 56 Samford, Major General John 46 Sandys, Duncan 41, 47 Scarborough Daily Post 17 Schiff, Steven 38 schoolchildren: UFO sightings by 90, 93 Schulgen, Brigadier General George 39 Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (1969) 81 Scotsman,The 136 Scull, John 111 Second World War 22, 25; foofighter sightings by aircraft pilots 22–5, 24, 27–9, 57, 96, 144; large object sightings over the Alps 29–30; radar incidents 25–6, 27; spotting of UFO during raid on southern France 30–1, 31 ‘secret weapon’ hypothesis 36, 40 see also ‘black projects’ Sheerness incident (1912) 13–14 Sheppard, Graham 127 Shuttlewood, Arthur 90 Silbury Hill, crop circles 113 ‘Silent Vulcans’ 136 Simon, Dr Benjamin 118 Skyhook programme 39–40, 61–2 Soviet Union 40, 61–2; denouncement of UFOs 64 Spielberg, Steven 94, 112 Sputnik 100 spy planes: and UFO sightings 62–4 SR-71 Blackbird 63, 64, 136 Startup, Bill 96 stealth aircraft 127, 133, 133, 134, 136, 139 Stevens, Patrick 97, 98, 101 Strabolgi, Lord (David Kenworthy) 98, 101, 148, 149 Strieber,Whitley: Communion 121 Sueter, Murray F. 13–14 ‘sun dogs’ 83 Sunday Dispatch 41 Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) 27

159

Sweden: and ghost rocket scare 32–3 Swiney, Air Commodore Michael 48–50, 51, 141 T Taylor, Anne 82 Thayer, Gordon 66 Thing from AnotherWorld, The 116 Thomas, Dafyd Ellis 87–8 Thurkettle,Vince 107, 108 Titchmarsh, Pam 112 Tizard, Sir Henry 41, 42, 145 Today 114, 115 Tomorrow’sWorld 78 Topcliffe incident (1952) 47–8, 49 Tornado crew, UFO report (1990) 134 Torres, Lieutenant Milton 67–8 Trefgarne, Lord David 109 Trimingham, RAF 52 Truman, President Harry 46 Tudor, Rear-Admiral F.C.T. 17 Turnbull, Hugh 91 Turney, G.L. 42 Twining, General Nathan F. 39 U U2 spy plane 62–3, 64 UFO cover up 38, 39, 70, 94, 106–7, 108, 115, 149 UFO database 142 UFO Desk 69–70, 81, 90, 113, 135, 138, 145, 146, 149–50 UFO flaps: (1952) 46–7; (1967) 73–5, 80, 128; and Condign study 143; February (1988) 120; March (1993) 135, 138; Washington (1952) 46, 57;Welsh (1977) 90–1, 93 UFO hotspots 90–1 UFO Register,The 55 ‘UFO Solar’ 131 UFOs (unidentified flying objects): attempts to control spread of information about sightings 57–8, 60; balloons as explanation for sightings 15, 34, 37, 38, 46, 58, 61–2, 64, 74, 78, 82; debate in House of Lords on 96–7, 148, 149; destruction ofreports 9, 50, 68; difficulties faced by official investigations 78; ending of


160

INDEX

intelligence interest in 145; filming of 77–8, 78, 96; naural phenomena and sightings 46, 51, 53, 80, 97, 100, 101, 132, 143–4, 145; near collision between aircraft and 128, 129–32, 129, 130; official explanations for 82–3, 93, 143, 148; ordering of pilot to shoot down (1956) 67–8; photographs taken by public 70, 71; pilot sightings see pilots, civilian; pilots, military; public belief and fascination in 69, 94; public sightings and reports 40–1, 56–7, 71–2, 75–6, 79–80, 82–4, 84–6, 85, 94–5; radar incidents 25–6, 27, 33–4, 46, 51–4, 58, 59, 64–6, 68–9, 145; recent sightings (2007/08) 146–7, 150; reduction in official interest 81–2; and ‘secret weapon’ hypothesis 36, 40; spy planes and sightings of 62–4; types of 55; Venus mistaken for 75 unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) 140 United Nations 97 United States Air Force see USAF United States Army Air Force (USAAF) 24, 25, 34 Upton Primary Junior School 93, 93 USAF (United States Air Force)

25, 40, 42, 63, 105, 136; closing down Project Blue Book 81, 105; formation 39; and Project Blue Book see Project Blue Book; sightings by personnel 39, 64, 65, 69, 106, 107; and UFO reports 46, 63 USAF Missile Development Center 62 V Vandenberg, General Hoyt 40 Venus 74, 75, 97, 116 Vickers shipyard (Barrow-inFurness): airship sightings 14–15 Vulcan crew: UFO encounter by 89–90, 89 W Waddington, RAF 89 Wales: UFO sightings in West 90–3 Wall, Major Patrick 60 War Office 32 War of theWorlds radio broadcast (1938) 41 Ward, George 60–1, 66, 68–9 Warminster triangle 90, 110, 111, 112 Washington DC: UFO panic (1952) 46, 57 Wattisham, RAF 120–1 Watton, RAF 108 Waycott, Clifford 73

Weeden, Simon 105–6 Wells, H, G.: TheWar of the Worlds 115 West, David 69–70 West Drayton, RAF 128 West Freugh, RAF: UFO sightings at (1957) 53–4, 55, 64 West Malling incident (1953) 62 Westbury: crop circles at 112 Whitworth,Wing Commander Peter 53 Widdecombe-in-the-Moor (Dartmoor) 19 Will-o-the-Wisp 19, 144 Willey, Roger 73 Wiltshire: crop circles 90, 110, 111–12, 113; moving lights incident 86, 90 Wimbledon, Flight Lieutenant Freddie 64 ‘winter of discontent’ 95 Wood, Flight Lieutenant 88 Woodbridge, RAF 103, 107 X X-Files,The 135, 138 Y Yeager, Chuck 33 Z Zeppelin, Count 14 Zeppelins 12, 13–14, 14, 16


Winston Churchill, Prime Minister’s Personal Minute, 28 July 1952

In this remarkable book David Clarke reveals an array of startling stories from possible UFO reports hidden among Met Office investigations of aerial phenomena in the 1920s to the conclusions of Project Condign, the hush-hush British Intelligence UFO study completed in 2000. As well as covering Roswell and Britain’s own Rendlesham Forest mystery, Clarke raids the records for dramatic stories of abductions and close encounters, ghost aircraft and crop circles, and UFO reports by civilian aircrew and military personnel. Dramatic witness statements and interviews – many undertaken by the author himself – combine with rarely seen photographs, drawings and newly available documents to offer a unique guide to one of our most intriguing mysteries. David Clarke is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. He has a long-standing interest in UFOs and other aerial phenomena, and has worked with the National Archives in promoting UFO material recently released by the Ministry of Defence. He is an experienced journalist, contributing to the Yorkshire Post and other newspapers and magazines including BBC History, as well as acting as researcher and consultant to a range of radio and television productions. He is the author of The Angel of Mons (2004).

£12.99

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

David Clarke

The UFO Files tells the story of over 100 years of UFO sightings, drawing on formerly secret government records at the National Archives. Alongside extraordinary reports by ordinary people it reveals details of official interest and investigations stretching back to before the First World War – for although the terms UFO and Flying Saucer were not coined until the middle of the twentieth century, people have long seen things in the sky that they could not explain.

THE UFO FILES

‘ What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?’

THE

UFO FILES

The Inside Story of Real-Life Sightings

David Clarke


Ufo research